Welcome! James, George, and Eric

We are excited to welcome several new faces to our Idaho Commerce family. Here is a brief introduction to three of the five newest members of our team.

 

James Varner, Administrative Assistant

Mr. Varner will work with the Shared Services team and assist with the Economic Advisory Council. He will primarily work with the Community Development, International Trade, and Business Attractions teams.

 

James Varner joined the Idaho Commerce team after moving to Idaho from Las Vegas, NV. While living in Las Vegas, James attended the College of Sothern Nevada and became a member of the College’s dance company where he had the opportunity to travel around the western United States and to Italy and Spain, winning the title of International Dance Champions. James is bringing a wealth of customer service abilities to the Commerce team, and is already becoming a great asset to the department. James moved to Idaho to be closer to his family, including his five brothers and two sisters.

 

 

George Lynch, Senior Economic Development Policy Advisor

Mr. Lynch will work with partners throughout the state advising the Director on policy initiatives for issues such as broadband access, affordable housing, and other key challenges the state faces in furthering economic development.

 

George Lynch, new Senior Advisor on Economic Development Initiatives, joins Idaho Commerce after three years at Bloomberg Law as a Senior Legal Editor where he specialized in state and local tax law and regulations as well as international and U.S. privacy and data protection laws. Prior to joining Bloomberg, Mr. Lynch worked for the U.S. Commerce Department where he was involved in enforcing fair trade laws on behalf of U.S. companies. Mr. Lynch has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine and his law degree from American University Washington College of Law. He and his fiancé, Rachel, live in Boise.

 

 

Eric Forsch, Business Retention and Expansion Manager

Mr. Forsch will oversee the department’s business retention and expansion team responsible for engaging Idaho businesses and providing information about available resources and programs. Mr. Forsch is rejoining Idaho Commerce where he previously served from 2011 to 2017 as a Senior Business Attraction Specialist playing an integral role in department initiatives like the SelectUSA trade show, the development of a statewide unmanned aircraft system (UAS) consortium and numerous business attraction projects.

Eric Forsch, Idaho Commerce’s new Business Retention and Expansion Manager, is rejoining the department after first joining Idaho Commerce in 2011 as a Business Attraction Specialist. Prior to rejoining Idaho Commerce, he served as the Market Principal for Manpower in Boise. Mr. Forsch has also served as an Adjunct Professor at the College of Western Idaho, and three years in the banking industry. Mr. Forsch received his Bachelor of Arts in History from Boise State University and an Master of Arts in History from University of Colorado. In his spare time, he enjoys brewing beer, woodworking, and spending time with his wife, Hailey, and their three dogs.

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Company Spotlight: Tedder Industries

A devotion to public safety has led to robust economic development in Post Falls, Idaho, creating hundreds of local jobs that are in service to an industry built on Constitutional rights.

Tedder Industries is a rapidly growing manufacturer that creates firearm accessories for its national and international brands Alien Gear Holsters, Bigfoot Gun Belts and Old Faithful Holsters.

Company growth since 2013 allowed founder and CEO Thomas Tedder to invest in the previously deserted outlet mall on the border of Post Falls near State Line off I-90 in 2016. The location had been defunct for nearly a decade, but it now houses active production lines and newly renovated spaces for business owners to lease.

The company’s dedication to innovation has led to investments in 3-D printing and injection-molding machinery within its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. This machinery provides the company the ability to design, prototype and launch advanced products for gun safety enthusiasts.

Tedder Industries seeks to challenge the status quo in its Idaho facilities, questioning traditional gun holster designs in its industry and replacing them with technologically advanced, modular holster systems.

“Hundreds of employees at Alien Gear Holsters work every day to make our country safer,” Tedder said. “In our North Idaho facilities, we’re constantly rethinking how we can better protect others with our equipment. For us, innovation is a requirement.”

There are about 200 employees spread across production and other teams. As the company develops its several anticipated product launches throughout 2018, it may need to scale production teams in suit, depending on market demand.

Its new machinery drastically lowers the amount of time required for mechanical engineers to put a product idea through prototyping and testing. An idea can go from a whiteboard to a 3-D printed model in a matter of hours.

This process, over the course of a couple years and with thousands of labor hours from skilled engineers, has led to the company’s flagship product line, the ShapeShift Modular Holster System.

Although Tedder started the company at his kitchen table in Arkansas nearly a decade ago, its operations have expanded internationally to four continents through strategic development and a bit of elbow grease from carefully cultivated teams, each with a clear understanding of what the company stands for.

Tedder Industries’ efforts have resulted in 8 years of advocacy for the safe exercise of Second Amendment rights, securing American communities one family at a time.

 

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Company Spotlight: Verified First

In a tightening labor market, it’s important for companies to quickly vet top candidates and onboard them seamlessly into their workforce. Background and drug screenings are a critical part of the hiring process, but there are inefficiencies that cost companies time, productivity, and sometimes top talent. Two serial entrepreneurs, Devon Dickinson and Tommy Cheng, felt there was a better way to conduct pre-employment screenings. In 2012, they founded Verified First to bring innovation to a stale industry.

From its humble Idaho beginnings, Verified First has experienced incredible growth. This year, Verified First was ranked #198 on the 2017 Inc. Magazine list of the 5000 fastest-growing American companies. This ranking also placed Verified First as Idaho’s fastest-growing company this year. The company’s success comes from a few key advantages that allows it to compete with titans in the background screening industry:

  • Hosted on the cloud, Verified First’s online portal makes background screenings faster, more intuitive, and more easily integrated with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). In large part because of the portal’s features and ease of use, Verified First won the Gold Stevie Award for Talent Acquisition and Retention Solution Provider of the Year in 2016 and 2017.
  • Integrating background screening services with an ATS improves hiring efficiencies, but usually takes several weeks, costs hundreds of dollars, and creates system downtime when hiring. That’s why Verified First found an innovative solution to speed up the process. Their patent-pending technology reduces the integration time from weeks to minutes and unlike their competitors, this integration is provided free of charge.
  • Verified First’s customer service and compliance team are all based in their Idaho headquarters. This allows the company to provide high quality, ongoing training to American workers who already understand the country’s judicial system. With an average 97% customer satisfaction rate, it’s clear this approach has paid off.

Verified First has flourished in Idaho because of its business friendly policies. More specifically, its growth was made possible through Idaho policymakers who passed the Cloud Services Clarification Act in 2013. This legislation, drafted by members of the Idaho Technology Council (ITC), clarified that cloud-based services are not taxable transactions. Supported by Idaho Commerce, the Boise Chamber of Commerce, and private industry, the legislation was signed into law by Governor Otter on April 3rd, 2013.

When Verified First was in its infancy, company leadership considered moving headquarters outside of Idaho. However, because of Idaho’s many advantages for businesses, including the Cloud Services Clarification Act, its headquarters remained in state. Since then, Verified First has created many Idaho jobs and provided a great workplace environment for its employees. The company has received numerous awards for company culture from Best Places to Work in Idaho, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Outside Magazine.

Because of Verified First’s success, it was spotlighted at last month’s quarterly ITC meeting with Governor Otter. As the company grows, more employees will be based out of its headquarters in Meridian, Idaho. In the last three years, Verified First has seen a revenue growth of 2,221% — and it has no intention of slowing down.

Nick Massoth, General Manager of Verified First, said, “Idaho is a great place to grow a company. We’ve been successful through hiring individuals with a strong work ethic and impressive levels of integrity — and we’ve found that workforce in Idaho.”

“We’ve also benefited from the collaboration between industry and state government. It’s empowering to have local policymakers who are responsive to our needs and want us to be successful. Idaho is no longer a hidden gem and we see no reason to stop growing here.”

 

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2017 Trade Mission Participant Spotlight: PKG

Led by Idaho Commerce and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, 21 organizations representing Idaho’s diverse industries including agriculture, food processing, technology and defense are participating in a trade mission to Taiwan and Vietnam from November 10 – 18, 2017. Trade missions provide Idaho companies with an unparalleled opportunity to pursue potential business partnerships, make contacts, and develop exporting opportunities in foreign markets. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be sharing some of their stories.

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PKG, Inc.

PKG, Inc. specializes in contract design, development and manufacturing of system level devices for medical, government, aerospace and industrial interface solutions. In addition to their expertise in system level devices, the Meridian, Idaho-based company also offers incubation and acceleration service for startups and entrepreneurs. The upcoming trade mission will be the first for PKG, though the company has already put down roots overseas.

In addition to their Idaho headquarters, PKG has supply chain operations and two design and manufacturing centers based in Taipei, Taiwan. Taiwan has been a major market for medical device exports, where the U.S. occupies a 34.9 percent share of the imported medical device market. The medical device market in Taiwan grew to approximately $3.5 billion USD in 2015 and, in 2014, had 6.3 percent of gross domestic product claimed by health expenditure.

Another main business segment for PKG is aerospace – an industry that is rapidly growing in Vietnam. Between 2010 and 2015, .96 million tons of cargo passed through airports in Vietnam, a 10.7 percent growth from previous years. By 2020, Vietnam’s freight market is projected to grow to 1.8 million tons, a 12.8 percent increase per year. As estimated by the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV), Vietnam will need an investment of nearly $20 billion to fulfill its aviation sector development plan by 2020. Of this, $10 billion is needed for airport construction and upgrades, $8 billion is needed for aircraft fleet expansion and the remaining $2 billion is needed for airport operations and air traffic management.

Looking ahead, PKG hopes to continue expanding business overseas through partnerships with universities, design houses and technology-driven companies that can utilize PKG’s expertise in concept development, product styling, system architecture, usability analysis and research, and prototyping. PKG is excited for the opportunity to explore opportunities in other markets and to represent Idaho alongside Idaho Commerce.

For more information about the 2017 Idaho trade mission to Asia, view our Fact Sheet.

 

 

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2017 Trade Mission Participant Spotlight: Recall InfoLink

Led by Idaho Commerce and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, 21 organizations representing Idaho’s diverse industries including agriculture, food processing, technology and defense are participating in a trade mission to Taiwan and Vietnam from November 10 – 18, 2017. Trade missions provide Idaho companies with an unparalleled opportunity to pursue potential business partnerships, make contacts, and develop exporting opportunities in foreign markets. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be sharing some of their stories.

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Recall InfoLink

Recall InfoLink is a global, web-based platform that enables businesses to swiftly manage product recalls. The simple software allows businesses to quickly upload information about the specific product being recalled and immediately notify their customers on a variety of channels including text, email and on their mobile device. Recall InfoLink has customers across the globe with products spanning pharmaceuticals, pet and animal products, apparel, electronics and food items.

The upcoming trade mission will be the first for Recall InfoLink. The company believes their platform can be a solution to improving the speed and efficiency of recalls in Taiwan, particularly in food and drug industries. In 2015, Taiwan had over 300 recalls for medical-related products, a 200 percent increase from the previous year.

Taiwan’s food processing sector encompasses over 6,000 manufacturing enterprises, making it the eighth largest manufacturing sector in the nation. Domestic food processing and ingredients accounted for a total output value of $21.3 billion USD in 2015. As far as imported goods to Taiwan, the United States is one of the nation’s major suppliers of high-end household consumer goods like vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, washing machines and other housewares.

Last year, Recall InfoLink processed over 18,000 recalls across the world. Their platform offers service in multiple languages, including Mandarin Chinese, the official language of Taiwan. Recall InfoLink is thrilled for the opportunity to participate in the trade mission with Idaho Commerce and eager for an opportunity to partner with companies and officials to enhance product recalls in Taiwan.

 

For more information about the 2017 Idaho trade mission to Asia, view our Fact Sheet.

 

 

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2017 Trade Mission Participant Spotlight: Glanbia

Led by Idaho Commerce and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, 21 organizations representing Idaho’s diverse industries including agriculture, food processing, technology and defense are participating in a trade mission to Taiwan and Vietnam from November 10 – 18, 2017. Trade missions provide Idaho companies with an unparalleled opportunity to pursue potential business partnerships, make contacts, and develop exporting opportunities in foreign markets. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be sharing some of their stories.

Glanbia Nutritionals, Inc.

Global nutrition company Glanbia Nutritionals, Inc. is slated to join another trade mission with Idaho Commerce, this time to Vietnam and Taiwan. Glanbia has an impressive global reach with employees in 32 countries and products sold in more than 130 countries. The company is one of the largest producers of cheese and whey-based ingredients, and the largest barrel cheese manufacturer in the world. With four facilities in Idaho and another in New Mexico, Glanbia’s U.S. locations collectively produce over 1 billion pounds of cheese each year.

Glanbia is attending the upcoming trade mission to support the state of Idaho and focus on laying groundwork to support longer-term exporting efforts, specifically with natural cheese products. The company currently exports cheese products to Japan, China, Taiwan, Australia, Philippines and Indonesia, and would like to see sales from export markets continue to increase over the coming years. Glanbia is looking forward to representing the Gem State in Asia and meeting potential new partners in overseas markets.

For more information about the 2017 Idaho trade mission to Asia, view our Fact Sheet.

 

 

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2017 Trade Mission Participant Spotlight: HMI

Led by Idaho Commerce and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, 21 organizations representing Idaho’s diverse industries including agriculture, food processing, technology and defense are participating in a trade mission to Taiwan and Vietnam from November 10 – 18, 2017. Trade missions provide Idaho companies with an unparalleled opportunity to pursue potential business partnerships, make contacts, and develop exporting opportunities in foreign markets. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be sharing some of their stories.

Hamilton Manufacturing, Inc. (HMI)

Driscoll TopHay is a premier hay and forage export company – a recent joint venture between Driscoll Brands and TopHay Agri-Industries. Driscoll Brands is the marketing arm for the Driscoll Family of Companies, a multi-generational, diversified business group with agriculture expertise. TopHay Agri-Industries is a Canadian corporation with ties to Asia, particularly China, that has been pressing and exporting alfalfa hay from British Columbia for the past five years. Through this partnership, Driscoll TopHay has been able to make Idaho’s high-quality alfalfa available to global markets. Driscoll TopHay opened their new hay compressing facility in Pocatello, Idaho this past August, which currently exports hay to feed dairy cows in Japan, South Korea and China.

The company is seeking partnerships with countries that already export goods to the U.S., allowing shipping containers to return to Asia with a full load of imported alfalfa hay and other feed products rather than empty. The upcoming trade mission is an opportunity for Driscoll TopHay to expand their reach into two new markets, Vietnam and Taiwan. They are looking forward to introducing their direct to consumer sales model and high-quality dairy feed products to additional overseas partners for the first time alongside Idaho Commerce.

For more information about the 2017 Idaho trade mission to Asia, view our Fact Sheet.

 

 

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2017 Trade Mission Participant Spotlight: Driscoll TopHay

Led by Idaho Commerce and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, 21 organizations representing Idaho’s diverse industries including agriculture, food processing, technology and defense are participating in a trade mission to Taiwan and Vietnam from November 10 – 18, 2017. Trade missions provide Idaho companies with an unparalleled opportunity to pursue potential business partnerships, make contacts, and develop exporting opportunities in foreign markets. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be sharing some of their stories.

Driscoll TopHay

Driscoll TopHay is a premier hay and forage export company – a recent joint venture between Driscoll Brands and TopHay Agri-Industries. Driscoll Brands is the marketing arm for the Driscoll Family of Companies, a multi-generational, diversified business group with agriculture expertise. TopHay Agri-Industries is a Canadian corporation with ties to Asia, particularly China, that has been pressing and exporting alfalfa hay from British Columbia for the past five years. Through this partnership, Driscoll TopHay has been able to make Idaho’s high-quality alfalfa available to global markets. Driscoll TopHay opened their new hay compressing facility in Pocatello, Idaho this past August, which currently exports hay to feed dairy cows in Japan, South Korea and China.

The company is seeking partnerships with countries that already export goods to the U.S., allowing shipping containers to return to Asia with a full load of imported alfalfa hay and other feed products rather than empty. The upcoming trade mission is an opportunity for Driscoll TopHay to expand their reach into two new markets, Vietnam and Taiwan. They are looking forward to introducing their direct to consumer sales model and high-quality dairy feed products to additional overseas partners for the first time alongside Idaho Commerce.

For more information about the 2017 Idaho trade mission to Asia, view our Fact Sheet.

 

 

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Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM) Council Announces November Meeting

MEDIA ALERT
Contact: Megan Hill
Idaho Commerce
208.334.2470
megan.hill@commerce.idaho.gov

Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM) Council Announces November Meeting

BOISE, Idaho—October 31, 2017— The Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM) Council is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  The IGEM Council will hold its meeting in the Sawtooth Conference Room at Idaho Commerce, located at 700 W State Street, Boise.  

 

The IGEM Council oversees the Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission Grant Fund, which includes $950,000 in appropriated funds by the Idaho State Legislature. IGEM funds research between university and industry partnerships geared toward commercialization initiatives. 

 

During this meeting, the Council will review two applications for IGEM funding. One of the IGEM applications will be reviewed in Executive Session as a result of the proprietary company information that will be discussed, per Idaho Code 67-2345(1)(d) “to review records and information exempt from public disclosure under Idaho Code 9-340D(6) and 67-4708.”  Upon return to public session, the Council will announce funding decisions.

 

Click here for the full agenda.

 

This IGEM meeting is open to the public. There will be an opportunity for public comments toward the end of the meeting.

 

To learn more about IGEM, visit http://igem.idaho.gov  

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